The Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers are through to the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, while the Emirates Lions booked their place in the EPCR Champions Cup top-eight following a thrilling weekend of European playoffs.
The Cell C Sharks will line up against Stade Toulousain at Stade Ernest Wallon in their quarter-final on Saturday at 16h00, while the DHL Stormers will face off against the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park soon after at 18h30 in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals (SA times). The other two matches will see Leinster take on Leicester in Dublin, while the defending champions, Stade Rochelais, host Saracens in La Rochelle.
These fixtures were confirmed after the Cell C Sharks outplayed Munster 50-35 at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban, while the DHL Stormers survived a late fightback from the Harlequins for a 32-28 victory at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town.
The Vodacom Bulls, in turn, were knocked out of the competition after going down 33-9 against Stade Toulousain in Toulouse.
There were mixed fortunes for SA’s two EPCR Challenge Cup teams, with the Emirates Lions delivering an impressive performance to register a comprehensive 51-28 victory Racing 92 at Emirates Airline Park to book their quarter-final spot against the Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday at 21h00 (SA time).
The Toyota Cheetahs, in turn, exited the competition after following their 36-21 defeat against Toulon.
The other three quarter-final encounters will see Scarlets take on ASM Clermont Auvergne, Toulon welcome Lyon to their home field and Benetton will go up against Cardiff in Treviso.
Rampant Cell C Sharks into Champions Cup quarter-finals
The Cell C Sharks stormed into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals with a thrilling 50-35 triumph over Munster at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts scored seven tries, converted six of them and added a penalty goal, while the Irish province replied through five converted tries in a display that left the attack coaches smiling.
The Cell C Sharks enjoyed a half-time lead of 17-14 through converted tries by Springboks Jaden Hendrikse and Eben Etzebeth to add to a Curwin Bosch penalty goal, but they cut loose with five more tries in the second stanza to take the game away from Munster.
Bosch made a particularly notable contribution, earning a personal tally of 20 points.
Cell C Sharks 50 (17)
Tries: Jaden Hendrikse, Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi (2), Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch, Makazole Mapimpi.
Conversions: Curwin Bosch (6).
Penalty goal: Bosch.
Munster 35 (14)
Tries: Shane Daley, Dave Kilcoyne, Diarmuid Barron, Mike Haley, Fineen Wycherley.
Conversions: Jack Crowley (5).
DHL Stormers hold out Quins to seal quarter-final spot
The DHL Stormers held out a determined Harlequins outfit to score five tries to four for a 32-28 victory in their Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 clash at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday and in the process booked their place in the quarter-finals.
Both sides threw everything at one another to gain ascendancy in the first half, and there were small margins at times, but the DHL Stormers managed to gain the edge, scoring three tries to one by the Harlequins – with Springbok flank Deon Fourie earning a brace – for an encouraging 17-7 lead.
The second half was tightly fought with the Capetonians scoring an early try before surviving a brave fightback by the visitors who scored three quick tries at the end that saw them close the gap on the scoreboard from 32-7 to only four points.
DHL Stormers 32 (17)
Tries: Deon Fourie (2), Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse, Willie Engelbrecht.
Conversions: Manie Libbok (2).
Penalty goal: Libbok.
Harlequins 28 (7)
Tries: Alex Dombrandt (2), Andre Esterhuizen, Joe Marchant.
Conversions: Marcus Smith (4).
Patient Toulouse knock Vodacom Bulls out of Champions Cup
Five-time winners Stade Toulousain delivered a patient and impressive performance in their round of 16 Heineken Champions Cup encounter against the Vodacom Bulls to register a 33-9 victory in Toulouse on Sunday, which saw them knock the visitors out of the competition and book their place in the quarter-finals.
The first half was riddled with handling errors in the slippery conditions, and despite both teams creating chances on attack, the only points scored were compliments of penalty goals with Toulouse fullback Thomas Ramos slotting over four to two by Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Chris Smith for a 12-6 lead.
Toulouse dominated the second half scoring three converted tries in 15 minutes, while they limited the Vodacom Bulls to a penalty goal for their efforts, and this saw the French side earn the convincing win.
Stade Toulousain 33 (12)
Tries: Emmanuel Meafou, Matthis Lebel, Thibaud Flament.
Conversions: Thomas Ramos (3).
Penalty goals: Ramos (4).
Vodacom Bulls 9 (6)
Penalty goals: Chris Smith (3).
Superb Emirates Lions too good for Racing 92 in Joburg playoff
The Emirates Lions – playing with only 14 men for more than an hour – delivered a superb performance to beat French club Racing 92 by 51-28 in their EPCR Challenge Cup playoff in Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
Emmanuel Tshituka was shown a red card for a leading elbow while on a strong charge in the 18th minute, but that didn’t deter the men from Joburg, who went on to score seven tries to four for an emphatic win that booked them a place in the quarter-finals against the Glasgow Warriors.
The hosts varied their play well, sometimes going straight up the middle and making ground, and at other times spreading it wide to expose space on the wings. All but one of their tries were scored by the backs.
Emirates Lions 51 (27)
Tries: Marius Louw (2), Edwill van der Merwe, Rabz Maxwane, Ruan Venter, Gianni Lombard, Sanele Nohamba.
Conversions: Nohamba (5).
Penalty goals: Nohamba, Andries Coetzee.
Racing 92 28 (14)
Tries: Thomas Moukoro (2), Ben Volavola, Donovan Taofifenua.
Conversions: Nolann Le Garrec (3), Max Spring.
Toulon knock Toyota Cheetahs out of Europe
French giants Toulon knocked the Toyota Cheetahs out of the EPCR Challenge Cup with a 36-21 (half-time 19-0) victory at the Stade Félix Mayol in the south of France on Saturday.
The team from Bloemfontein did well to reach the playoffs, but the trip to France proved to be one step too far for them this season, with Toulon – three-time Heineken Champions Cup winners and four-time EPCR Challenge Cup finalists – scoring six tries to the visitors’ three, all of which came after the break.
RC Toulon 36 (19)
Tries: Thomas Salles, Teddy Baubigny, Aymeric Luc, Facundo Isa, Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo (2).
Conversions: Salles (3).
Toyota Cheetahs 21 (0)
Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg, Cohen Jasper, Rynier Bernardo.
Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3).